Our Where are they now? series kicks off with our very own Nedy Acet. Nedy is a graduate of Animation Mentor and since graduating in 2008, we decided to check in, take a walk down memory lane to see what’s changed and what opportunities have come knocking at his door. Read on to find out how Animation Mentor – the community, mentorships, lectures, and everything else in between – paved the way for his success at DreamWorks. So become inspired and keep moving towards those dreams.
– The Animation Mentor Crew
ANIMATION MENTOR: Where are you originally from?
NEDY: I was born and grew up in the south of France. I worked most of my life on the west coast of France, in Bordeaux city.
ANIMATION MENTOR: Tell us a little about your journey since graduating from Animation Mentor.
NEDY: Animation Mentor changed my life. Before Animation Mentor, I had been working as an animator and as a lead animator in mostly video games, some commercials, music videos and short films. At that time in 2007, my animation career wasn’t progressing. I wasn’t learning anymore and I knew I wanted to work in animated feature films. In 2008, I made the life changing decision to join Animation Mentor.
After the graduation, it took me two years to work on what I learned and to take a leap of faith. So I quit my job in 2010 and started working on my demo reel full time. More precisely on 11 Second Club animation competitions. I entered and won both February and March 2010 competitions.
ANIMATION MENTOR: Where do you currently work at?
NEDY: I currently work at DreamWorks Animation in Glendale, California.
Back in 2008, in class 4 (Introduction to Acting), I met two classmates, Ron Pucherelli and Dane Stogner. Our mentor was the amazingly inspiring Jason Schleifer. They all helped me get the job. The relationships, connections and friendships you make during your time at Animation Mentor is one of the things I valued most from my experience, aside from the amazing courses and world class mentors.
ANIMATION MENTOR: What is it like working at DreamWorks?
NEDY: Working at DreamWorks is really amazing. I’m so grateful to be able to work and learn from such talented people. Some of my supervisors have been there for 15 or 20 years and have worked on movies like the Prince of Egypt … James Baxter, Kristof Serrand, Rodolphe Guenoden …
The studio itself is a great and beautiful place to work at as DreamWorks cares a lot about their employees.
ANIMATION MENTOR: What animation shot did you learn the most from?
NEDY: It’s hard to say because there’s so many but if I had to pick it would be a shot seen towards the end of Peabody and Sherman. This shot depicts the evil Grunion as she decides to leave and take away both kids Sherman. She drags them away and they end up “merging” into one character. This was a really complex and technical shot with a bunch of characters that’s difficult to describe, let alone animate. I learned a lot about planning and prioritizing on this shot.
ANIMATION MENTOR: What was your favorite shot to animate so far, and why?
NEDY: My favorite shot to animate is not necessarily my best animated shot but one that I enjoyed working on. The shot would have to be animating principal Purdy in Peabody and Sherman. In that movie, I was trusted to develop the acting and personality of some of the secondary characters such as Robespierre, Marie Antoinette, and principal Purdy. I loved being able to conduct tests and actually try different things before animating the shot in order to really see what works or what doesn’t. Doing this allows me to ensure that I push the character to the maximum potential. Especially in regards to the character principal Purdy, it felt like I was contributing more to the story and to the character. This character was really fun for me to animate!
ANIMATION MENTOR: Where do you feel your strengths are?
NEDY: I would say that I have a strong understanding of animation fundamentals as well as character development. In addition, I have a strong Cartoony style, humor and timing.
ANIMATION MENTOR: If there’s one animation tip or technique you’d share with someone wanting to animate in feature film, what would it be?
NEDY: Take the time. Take the time to study, plan, think before animating. There are lots of animation students out there and everyone will have a similar understanding of animation. What will differentiate an animator from one another is the animator’s ideas and execution. I remember thinking for about week for a small animation idea 7 years ago. It wasn’t just a few hours here and there but it was a whole week looking for ideas that were original, interesting, and fun. Researching, talking with friends, asking for their advice were immensely helpful.
When you animate, you don’t settle for a shot in next pass, but go to polish. It must be the same for the planning and researching process. Take the time.
ANIMATION MENTOR: How did Animation Mentor prepare you for the industry?
NEDY: Animation Mentor prepared me for the industry by first and foremost, providing its students with great mentors. These mentors have worked or still work in feature film. They all have had enormous experience in animation. They taught me about animation in detail but also about what a true animation job would entail and what would be expected of me.
Futhermore, Animation Mentor’s curriculum is great and it really makes you go a step at a time, making sure that you don’t miss anything. Getting a critique from different people like classmates, peers, mentors, helped me understand that feedback isn’t personal. Critiques are there to help make the shot the best possible it could be! I was well prepared when I started in feature films because of that. I actually asked for more critiques and feedback all the time, and that right there made me a better animator.
Want to start your journey as an animator like Nedy?
If it’s your dream to work on feature film movies like the ones seen above, you can start now by getting mentored by the people who bring these films to life. Animation Mentor’s character animation program consists of six 12 week classes tailored to teach both beginners and advanced animators alike. Founded by three professional animators originally from Pixar Animation Studios, and Industrial Light & Magic, Animation Mentor was created to help anyone in the world achieve their dream to tell their own story through the world of animation.
Stop wishing and start doing! Now is the time to tell your story, just like Nedy.